- We’re identified the 11 executives that are leading Salesforce’s behind the scenes and helping CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block tackle Salesforce’s next stage of growth.
- Salesforce recently said it plans to double the company in the next five years. Benioff has said that he wants to grow the company’s revenue to $35 billion by 2024.
- But that feat will be difficult to achieve, and is heavily dependent on Salesforce’s ability to make more large acquisitions.
- To keep up, Benioff is going to have to rely on his team of executives — including Bret Taylor, a rising star at Salesforce, who was just this month named president and chief operating officer (COO).
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Salesforce co-CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff recently said he plans to double the company in the next five years. He wants to grow the company’s revenue to $35 billion by 2024.
The feat would make “us the fastest enterprise software company to reach that milestone,” Benioff said on the company’s latest earnings call with investors, reiterating the target he set last month at the company’s annual Dreamforce conference.
Analysts say the feat will be difficult to achieve, and is heavily dependent on Salesforce’s ability to make more large acquisitions. It recently acquired data analytics company Tableau in a $15.3 billion deal, its largest ever. And last year it acquired MuleSoft for $6.5 billion.
To keep pace, Benioff is going to have to rely even more heavily on his team of executives — including Bret Taylor, a rising star at Salesforce, who was just this month named president and chief operating officer (COO). Taylor came to Salesforce by way of the acquisition of his startup Quip, and was quickly named chief product officer for the overall company.
Even before that, Benioff promoted Keith Block, the previous holder of the COO title, to the role of co-chief executive, strengthening the company’s bench ahead of this big push for growth.
We spoke to Salesforce and Wall Street analysts who follow the company to see which execs are leaders at the company right now.
Here are the 11 people who helped make Salesforce into what it is today, and who will lead the charge as it continues its growth spurt:
Bret Taylor, president and chief operating officer
Bret Taylor is quickly rising through the ranks at Salesforce. He joined the company in 2016, when it acquired his word processor startup Quip. Right away, Taylor reported directly to CEO Marc Benioff, which is rare for most startup CEOs after their company is acquired.
Not long after, in 2017, Taylor made the leap to the C-suite as the president and chief product officer of Salesforce. Just this month, he got another promotion to chief operating officer, with oversight over global product vision, engineering, security, marketing and communications.
Prior to Quip, Taylor was Facebook’s chief technology officer and helped lead the company through its IPO in 2012 — and gets the credit for creating its “Like” button. Before that, he was at Google, where he helped found Google Maps.
Benioff has previously said Taylor was one of the “rising stars of our industry,” and said it was his “dream to work more closely” with him.
Parker Harris, chief technology officer and cofounder
Parker Harris has been there since the beginning. As one of the co-founders, he helped build the company from the ground up right alongside Marc Benioff. He’s the mastermind behind Salesforce’s product and engineering.
Harris’s background is somewhat unusual for an engineer. He grew up loving computers and math — he started coding when he got his first Apple computer in 8th grade. But he also loved French and classic literature, so in college opted to study English literature at Middlebury, a small liberal arts college in Vermont.
He’s credited with developing Salesforce’s cloud architecture and generally helping the company stay ahead of the curve, technologically speaking.
Harris is also often seen as the voice of reason at Salesforce, balancing out Benioff’s boisterous and impassioned strategy. He’s described by many of his peers as humble, kind and down to earth.
“I think the legacy is really the company that we built. That’s what makes me happy,” Harris told Business Insider in 2015. “I’m a very simple person, so that’s all I really need.”
Tony Prophet, chief equality officer
Tony Prophet has a long history in the tech industry, both in the marketing side of things and making tech more inclusive for people of color.
At Salesforce, his job is to make sure they have a diverse and inclusive workplace. Marc Benioff has made it one of his missions to close the gender pay gap at the company. In 2015, he pledged $6 million to fix the pay gaps across the company. Prophet has been an important part of that mission.
“A company like Salesforce has to be fighting for more equality at every level and for every person,” Benioff told USA Today when Prophet was hired. “The work of diversity is a constant struggle and it requires somebody senior dedicated to this.”
One of the practices Prophet has implemented is a diversity scorecard. Leaders of a team of 500 or more people get a scorecard every 30 days to track how often they promote and hire women and underrepresented minorities.
“I think it’s super important for all organizations to be transparent about their representation, for better or for worse,” Prophet told Business Insider earlier this year.
Prior to joining Salesforce in 2016, he worked in a number of senior marketing roles at Microsoft. While at Microsoft he also founded BlackLight, an organization focused on empowering Black employees at Microsoft. Before that, he was at Hewlett-Packard.
Amy Weaver, president of legal & general counsel
Amy Weaver handles all things legal for Salesforce, from global external issues to internal auditing and corporate security. She’s also on the company’s executive committee and the executive sponsor of the Salesforce Women’s Network.
She’s a frequent voice on the company’s earnings and investor calls and will be instrumental in helping Salesforce navigate the new data privacy laws in Europe and California.
She has advocated for a number of causes relating to diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the company. When Indiana passed a controversial law that would allow businesses to deny service to same-sex couples, Weaver was part of a team at Salesforce that worked to pass an amendment to the legislation. She also helped Salesforce’s effort to address the gender pay gap across the company.
Mark Hawkins, chief financial officer
Salesforce has an ambitious goal to double the company’s revenue to $35 billion within the next five years. Chief Financial Officer Mark Hawkins is key to making sure that becomes a reality.
Hawkins joined Salesforce in 2014, after decades of experience running finances at enterprise tech companies like Autodesk, Logitech, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
Meeting that goal of doubling revenue in five years means Salesforce will have to make more large acquisitions in order to grow the company. This year Salesforce closed its largest acquisition ever, buying Tableau for $15.3 billion, just one year after buying MuleSoft for $6.5 billion. Hawkins will have to secure more deals like these and make sure the existing acquisitions are having the impact the company wants them to.
Richard Socher, chief scientist
Richard Socher is the brains behind Einstein, Salesforce’s artificial intelligence system, which sits on top of and works in tandem with its main CRM product.
Socher joined Salesforce in 2016, when the cloud giant acquired AI company MetaMind, which is a platform that makes predictions based on image and text information. Socher was CEO of MetaMind at the time of the acquisition. MetaMind was quickly folded into Salesforce and Socher was named chief scientist of the overall.
Socher also teaches computer science at Stanford, where he got his PhD with a focus on AI and deep learning.
“I think the future is a fully immersive conversational CRM experience. Where you can just ask questions, give inputs, get outputs,” Socher told Business Insider in 2018. “And in the end, ideally everybody should have their own assistant as well as other things like their own doctors, and so on, because AI can learn from the very best people in the world.”
His expertise will be crucial as Salesforce creates more product updates centered around AI and machine learning.
Lisa Edwards, EVP strategic & business operations and customer & partner engagement
Lisa Edwards has been at Salesforce for about 7 years, and her current role spans a number of key areas. She’s responsible for the IT department, helping set sales strategy, managing data, and working with partners.
As part of that role she helps the company score partnerships to help digital transformation and helps scale the company, which will be key for Salesforce’s next stage of growth. Prior to Salesforce, she ran IP strategy and business development at Visa.
As a fun fact, she is also on the board of directors for Colgate-Palmolive, the consumer-goods giant.
Ebony Beckwith, chief philanthropy officer
Ebony Beckwith has been at Salesforce for over 10 years, starting in technology business operations in the CIO’s office before transitioning to a philanthropy role in 2014. She now also leads marketing for the social impact team. Her responsibilities include directing programs and strategic grants focused on education and workforce development.
Salesforce famously mandates that all its employees spend 1 week each year doing volunteer work, as part of its model for giving back. This so-called 1 percent model dedicates 1 percent of Salesforce’s equity, employee time and product back into the community.
Beckwith helps find those community service opportunities for employees to participate in.
She is also a San Francisco native, from the Bayview neighborhood. One of the neighborhood’s middle schools, Visitacion Valley Middle School, is one of the San Francisco Bay Area schools on which Salesforce focuses its philanthropy.
Sarah Franklin, EVP & GM of platform, Trailhead and developers
Sarah Franklin is key to helping Salesforce innovate on its platform. She leads the company’s learning platform and developer relations. She founded Trailhead, a free online learning platform Salesforce created to help people get the skills needed to get a job using its software.
She came up with the idea for Trailhead after a discussion with Marc Benioff on how to help users of Salesforce build more skills. Within a day after the discussion, she pitched the idea to Benioff and got it approved. From there, its grown into a platform with 1.2 million users as of earlier this year.
“This is a new world of learning experience platform,” Franklin previously told Business Insider. “This is a whole new market that we’re opening. We’re leading the way in how companies create this culture of learning and focus on the learning experience of their employees.”
Stephanie Buscemi, chief marketing officer
Stephanie Buscemi leads marketing at Salesforce, and has been at the company since 2014. Prior to this role she led the product marketing organization and oversaw all go-to-market strategy across all of Salesforce’s products.
She advocates for inclusive marketing and marketing that shows the company’s values. Companies now can’t just be about capitalism: They have to be “values-driven” in their approach to everything from marketing to billing to customer support, and making sure those values remain apparent in the “good times and the bad times,” Buscemi previously told Business Insider.
“For a long time, it was ‘do you have the best product or service?’ And the reality is…people are saying, we will switch brands if we don’t believe in the core values of the company,” Buscemi said.
She is instrumental in putting on Salesforce’s biggest annual conference, Dreamforce, in San Francisco, which experiences hundreds of thousands of attendees.
Miguel Milano, president, Salesforce International
Miguel Milano leads Salesforce’s international businesses across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He took on this role in 2018, and was previously leading Salesforce’s operations in Europe and the Middle East.
Before joining Salesforce, he managed Europe and the Middle East for Oracle. He is key to Salesforce’s expansion outside of the United States, which is a major market opportunity for the company.
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